Professor Welsch contributes to APS March meeting

CI member and QUASAR Group leader Professor Carsten P Welsch gave an invited talk on the Physics of Star Wars at the American Physical Society’s (APS) March Meeting 2024. This is one of the largest physics conferences. It brought together more than 13,000 physicists from around the world in Minneapolis between 3-8 March 2024. Participants showcased their work, connected with others, and discovered groundbreaking physics research. It was a very special meeting this year as attendees joined to celebrate the 125th anniversary of APS.

Group of people at an industry exhibition.
Industry exhibition at the APS March meeting, credit: APS.

Professor Welsch’s talk was part of a session on Science Communication and International Public Impact on Thursday 7 March, chaired by CMS Spokesperson Patricia McBride from Fermilab. The talk showcased how the iconic films were used to explain the application of particle accelerators to science, society and commerce. The session also included presentations on CERN’s 70th anniversary communication activities, the social media activities of the ATLAS experiment, the highly successful APS Physics Matters colloquia, and the non-profit organization Investing In People in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the broader Central African region as examples of best practice.

A person presenting a talk to an audience.
Professor Welsch giving his talk, credit: Christine Darve, ESS.

In his talk, Professor Welsch described how each of his events reached hundreds of people on the day, and Millions around the world through media coverage. He gave an insight into the structure of his highly successful outreach events, presented the impact they have had and how this was assessed, and showed how the events have helped improve public awareness and understanding of accelerator technology.

By tapping into the universal appeal of Star Wars, Professor Welsch made complex physics concepts more relatable and inspired attendees to view the world around them through a lens of scientific inquiry. Over the years, the Physics of Star Wars events have had a significant impact on promoting public engagement with science. Through events, hands-on activities, material for science teachers and public lectures, Professor Welsch and his QUASAR Group have reached a diverse audience, from young students and aspiring scientists to lifelong fans of science fiction.

The talk was very well received by the international audience and Professor Welsch already received follow-on invitations to speak at the African School of Physics, the WOMAD Festival in the UK, and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research on Spin Qubits in Silicon.

More information about Physics of Star Wars can be found here.